A 24-year-old missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has died in Africa, becoming the 11th full-time proselytizer for the Utah-based faith to die this year.
Tshiama Anaclet Tshiama, who hails from the Democratic Republic of Congo and was serving in the Ivory Coast Abidjan East Mission, was found unresponsive by his companion shortly after waking on the morning of Dec. 19, church spokesperson Sam Penrod said in a news release Thursday. He was taken to a hospital, where he died.
“His cause of death remains unknown at this time,” Penrod added, “but preliminary reports suggest it is the result of an undiagnosed medical condition.”
Expressing “deep sadness” over the news, the spokesperson said “we send our love to Elder Tshiama’s family and to all those who served alongside him during his missionary service and pray they will feel the peace of the Savior’s love during this difficult time.”
Ten other Latter-day Saints have died this year while serving full-time volunteer missions.
In July, a 20-year-old missionary from Utah and his 20-year-old companion from Montana were killed in a head-on collision in New Mexico.
Earlier that month, a 60-year-old mission president from Argentina died of cardiac arrest after battling COVID-19 for two months. He had been overseeing the Bolivia Cochabamba Mission.
In May, an 18-year-old missionary from Utah and his 20-year-old companion from Colorado were killed in a head-on collision in Denton, Texas.
In March, a 21-year-old missionary drowned in his homeland of El Salvador and a 48-year-old mission president in the Philippines died of an apparent heart attack.
In January, a 24-year-old elder serving in his home country of Haiti died after being admitted to a hospital with “health complications”; a 19-year-old elder from Utah was killed in a car crash in Arkansas; and a 20-year-old Nigerian serving a mission in his homeland died after a “sudden health episode (unrelated to COVID-19).”